What are we here for?
We meet here to talk about Godly Play, to share what it’s all about and to discuss how to do it better.
The weekly blog posts are designed to help Sunday school teachers prepare for their Godly Play lessons, and the individual pages (see the tabs at the top of this page) share information about how we do Godly Play at First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC.
We’d love to hear from teachers everywhere, not just the ones at our church! We hope you’ll join our circle and share your ideas!
What Godly Play is Not
Godly Play is quite different from the traditional model in which the teacher tells the children what they need to know. Godly Play is not about things that are that simple. It is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It is about locating each lesson in the whole system of Christian language and involving the creative process to discover the depths of meaning in them.
What is Godly Play?
According to the Godly Play Foundation, Godly Play is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture.
Godly Play is about understanding how each of the stories of God’s people connects with the child’s own experience and relationship with God.
Godly Play respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God.
Read more about Godly Play here.
How do we do Godly Play at First Baptist Greenville?
Christians of many different denominations use Godly Play and probably do it differently, even within the same denomination. In this blog, I describe Godly Play by sharing the way our church does it. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best way or the prescribed way, or the only way, of course, but it’s the way that suits us best.
Welcome to the Ark and the Temple, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, November 17.
For a girl who could spend days moving furniture and little people around a dollhouse, I simply adore this lesson! I also love it because it explores the idea of God’s abiding presence and helps us question exactly where God is. Where can we meet God? If it is in a church or temple, how do we keep that space sacred? If God truly meets us everywhere, anywhere, then what does that say about the sacredness of the space we occupy in our everyday lives? Which makes me think of a favorite song of mine, but that’s another story. (Go here, if you want a treat!)
This story works wonderfully as a continuation of The Ark and the Tent, and then Ruth and David’s stories. Before, the people took the tent with them as they traveled, and learned that God goes with them wherever they go. Now, the people have settled and learn that God is not only present during times of transition but in ordinary times of daily life.
Another interesting theme to address is the idea of the usefulness of things in the worship of God. When the ark and the commandments were taken during battle and they didn’t physically have them in the tent, were they really lost? When King David returned them, dancing into Jerusalem, what was he really celebrating?
Another very important theme to cover is that there is no physical place that can contain God. I’ll have Solomon’s temple dedication prayer typed up and in your room by Wednesday night this week. If you’d like to make it into a scroll to read during the lesson, as the script suggests, feel free. I believe we have some dowel sticks in the resource room. Balling up the paper and staining it with tea makes it look older and makes for a more dramatic presentation, if you like.
One other thing I didn’t mention before was the idea of making/offering sacrifices. Do we still offer sacrifices to God today? What kinds of sacrifices would God love? What kinds are important and why?
I wonder if a trip to our own sanctuary might be interesting to the children, after they study the temple. What is alike and what is different? What kind of sacrifices do we still make? Is there a way we make ourselves more acceptable to God before entering?
Some activity ideas to help the children get started:
Pieces of the temple
A few of the classes began a few weeks ago making special parts of the temple/tent. You could continue that this week, and you could even set up the items in a temple of your own making. Kids could make an ark, the ten commandments, a table with 12 pieces of bread, a menorah, a laver, and an altar. (See all the ideas and photos here.)
Could we make edible versions of all these things? And then make an edible temple? See my Pinterest site here, for ways to do this.
Make a temple
Could we make a temple out of a shoe box? (There are several in the art resource room. Help yourself! ) Or maybe draw a temple? Make one out of Lego?
Make a scroll with Solomon’s Prayer
Depending on the age of the children, you could have them copy the prayer (or use a pre-printed version), ball it up and then smooth it out, dye it with tea, and attach dowel sticks.
Research and draw/paint a priest in Solomon’s temple
I’ve got a good book that illustrates the kinds of garments priests of that time wore. Some children might enjoy discovering that and reproducing it in some way.
Enjoy the story!
For more art ideas, check out my Pinterest page, here.